Chinese funds crucial for development of Sri Lanka – Chamal
Loans and investment from China are crucial not only for the development of Sri Lanka but also in strengthening China-Sri Lanka bilateral ties, Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa said.
In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua and the Asia Pacific Daily, he said that while China and Sri Lanka have enjoyed generations of friendship and cordial relationship, it was only at the end of the civil war in 2009 that China started to play an important role in the country’s reconstruction efforts.
“The famous Sino-Lanka Rubber-Rice Pact signed in 1952 played an important role in the development of Sri Lanka. The pact witnessed the great friendship between China and Sri Lanka. However, the development of Sri Lanka stagnated because of the 30-year-civil- war,” Rajapaksa said.
Rajapaksa said that after peace was achieved in 2009, China provided loans and investment to support the post-war reconstruction in Sri Lanka. “With China’s financial support, the Sri Lankan economy was able to take off and the country is now being noticed by the world.”
The speaker cited as an example of the China-funded project, the Puttalam Coal Plant, which has provided 50 percent of the country’s power requirement and cut by 25 percent the electricity cost since its operation.
Another China-funded project is the south container wharf at the Colombo Port, a joint venture between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and China Merchant Holdings Ltd. “Through China’s expertise and funding, the Colombo South Port has become the World’s Fastest Development Port in 2014.”
“China has vigorously supported and participated in the construction process of Sri Lanka which has benefited the Sri Lankan people. The friendship between China and Sri Lanka is difficult to break and would remain vibrant in the years to come,” the Speaker was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official visit to the island nation in September last year, the friendship between the two countries has risen to a higher level with deeper mutually beneficial cooperation in various sectors, Rajapaksa said, adding because of this, there has been a noticeable increase in the inflow of investment from local and foreign sources into the country.